Forty-eight hours is an awfully short period of time to explore 40 square miles of resort at Walt Disney World, but there may be times when that’s all you have, and two days is better than nothing. This was our exact situation when we had a weekend to review the new Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort and get quality park time in too. Now that’s a challenge!
This decision is painful, but required in a 48-hour itinerary when you have two full days and one night free. Disney World has all kinds of ways to get around, but even the most efficient transfers take 30 minutes. Each park is massive. Once you are inside, walking from A to B also takes time. There are crowds and maps to navigate.
Three parks is doable and may even allow a little time to relax by the hotel pool if you are early risers.
Be sure and download the My Disney Experience app from the main Walt Disney World website to all of your phones before you go. Note, the app requires a user name and password. Note this somewhere in your phone. You don’t want to waste precious park time dealing with “lost password” requests.
The My Disney Experience app enables you to plan out your time at the parks with access to real-time information about the length of the lines at different attractions and rides.
For the main day, you can spend the day at one park and the evening at another. The Parks & Tickets tab on Disney’s website always has the daily schedule where you can see how long the resorts will be open each night of the year.
FastPasses, Disney’s access to reduced wait times for rides, are key and Disney has come up with an exceptional program to enable everyone to access their very favorite attractions without a line. One thing I learned on this trip is that there is no way to buy a FastPass. Every day, each individual guest ticket includes three free FastPasses, which enable guests to move through the special FastPass lane. Because these passes are so limited, it really works and the lines are amazingly minimal.
Disney is now also running a FastPass+ program where guests can reserve their FastPass experiences up to 30 days in advance when they book park tickets online. When you book a Disney Resort Hotel, you can book FastPass+ experiences 60 days ahead of time. Resort guests will also get access to the MagicBand, a wrist band that serves as park ticket and FastPass+ ticket. It even opens the door to your Disney Resort hotel room!
Once the first three FastPasses for a given day have been used, guests can access rolling FastPasses at the kiosks located throughout each park. Each additional FastPass is also free; you can only book one at a time, and then go back for more.
TIP: Use your first three FastPasses, i.e. those you can reserve ahead time, each day at the most popular attractions/rides and save the passes that you will access at the kiosks for the less popular rides. Not every ride will be available at the kiosks — it’s based on what’s already been reserved.
Note that you must use all three reserved FastPasses at a single park before you can access the rolling FastPass option. If you plan on going to two parks, that means you will necessarily be using the rolling FastPass at the second park.
We went through the Disney Parks website and had a clear list of all the rides and attractions we wanted to hit ahead of time. This made our park visit time feel purposeful and not stressful. Everyone is also clear on what will be done in the day that is “just for them.”
To avoid waiting in line for meals, make restaurant reservations ahead of time. Again, the Disney Website enables you to do this online. Listed options include restaurants in the parks at at the surrounding Disney hotels and include a menu and consumer reviews.
A special shout-out should go to the Epcot World Showcase, featuring options from around the world. We got a late start the day we wanted to get here and ended up missing it, but we hear from many different sources that it’s wonderful. You don’t need a reservation to experience this …
Decide if you are going to invest in a resort experience. If so, you’ll want a wee bit of time by the pool. The Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort definitely presents this dilemma, as this resort is absolutely spectacular with many fun onsite amenities and activities for parents and kids of all ages. The saving grace is that the resort has a free shuttle to all the Disney Parks. If you stay here for only 48 hours, forget about trying to fit in things outside of Disney; you just won’t have time to make it worthwhile.
Disney attractions, activities, trips, tips and advice on Ciao Bambino
Editor’s Note: Amie received a media package to Disney World. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Amie O’Shaughnessy except where noted.
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